Individuals and Families
The cornerstone of health is eating nutritious foods and being physically active in ways that work best for Vermonters and their families. These steps help to prevent a wide variety of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, along with many cancers. They also contribute to brain health, energy level, management of arthritis symptoms and overall well- being.
It is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables - fresh, frozen, or canned all work! A handy trick to reduce sodium and added sugar in canned vegetables and fruit is to give them a quick rinse with water. Aim for varied colors of fruits and vegetables, which offer varied nutrients, plus lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu, beans, nuts, and seeds), and whole grains. For more information, visit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. Sharing meals with others, when possible, provides important connection to others.
Adults benefit from at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (that will raise the heart rate slightly) per week, such as brisk walking, biking, dancing, running, or other movement you find joyful. This can be 30 minutes five days a week or can be split into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Find a friend or family member to join you to make it even more fun. This provides extra support to your health and wellbeing.
Additionally, getting at least 75 minutes of strength training a week provides additional benefits for adults. Try splitting this into two days per week and look for resistance exercises you can do at home. A gallon jug filled with water weighs 8 pounds, so using that as a hand weight is a simple way to incorporate strength training into your daily tasks. Or take a stretch, squat or lunge break after you have been sitting for a while.
Children and youth benefit from at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, including playing outdoors, dancing, playing sports or participating in physical education classes.
For more ideas on how to be physically active, check out Move Your Way for inspiration to get started!
Busy Families Need Simple Ways to Eat Healthy and Stay Active
Introduce children to new vegetables by including them in gardening, purchasing at the farmer’s market or grocery store, and preparing food.
Children who are involved in growing and cooking healthy foods are much more likely to try these foods. It takes some people at least seven exposures to become accustomed to a new food.
Let children try a small amount without expecting them to eat a full serving, even if that means simply playing with the food or your child allowing the food to be on their plate. While parents decide what to serve, kids will develop trust in their bodies by deciding how much to eat.
If your child is in school, ask if they are trying new foods – many Vermont schools offer taste tests of local fruits and vegetables for students. Your child may try a fruit or vegetable they like and will eat it if you make it at home.
Playing indoors and out introduces your children to favorite games and sports. This is a great way to encourage children to be active. Walking as a family, running together, and dancing in the living room on rainy days all help parents and kids get the physical activity they need and build healthy habits for the future.